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A year in travel, from Paris

L'Orangerie of Versailles

One of the best thing about living in Paris is the ease one escapes from Paris. Ownership of a private mean of transportation optional.

For someone who likes to travel, this is essential. Paris being a massive travel hub means I could either take the RER/Transilien to visit areas in Ile-de-France, the main rail services for trips around France and all its neighbouring countries (and then some), as well as flights to the rest of the world. I know, there are bus options to travel around Europe too, but I’d rather pay a wee bit more and shorten the travel time, given I don’t exactly have unlimited paid holiday to take.

And well have I been busy taking advantage of this in the last twelve months or what… February (as in 2 months ago) was the only month in which I stay put in entirety in Paris. If it hadn’t been a short month, who knows where I could have jaunted into? ;)

UK and Ireland

Dublin boardwalk

Barely a couple of weeks in my new life in Paris, I jetted off to UK for C+R’s wedding in Bruton. As I flew in to Bristol, I got the explore it a little before I was off to enjoy the splendour of the countryside of Somerset. The weather was beautiful throughout the weekend and I had a wonderful time.

Ireland has been home to me for many years, so 2-3 trips a year is hardly unusual. My first trip in June was for my graduation, the next in November to see my friend before she moved to San Diego, and of course in December for the Christmas break with my family. Each trip, I spent my time catching up with friends and family that I hardly even went anywhere else, with exception being One Pico – my favourite restaurant in Dublin. I still set aside at least one meal there per trip.



I live in Paris, which means travelling in France is a must too! I visited E+B in Strasbourg and ran a 10K race while I was there in May, had a truly relaxing weekend in Nantes and Brains in June, accepted an invitation to Nice and its environs in early August, mostly at work when I was in Nouan le Fuzelier in October, and just last month I was in Chartres on a daytrip. It is actually not a lot come to think of it. I didn’t feel I made very good use of my Carte Escapade… Must do better in the next 12 months.

Within the region of Ile-de-France, I pulled off a small number of daytrips to Fontainebleau, Barbizon and Versailles, and mind, these three places are as different as they can be. From extravagant castles and extensive gardens to the modest village that was once favoured by many artists for natural landscape and scenes of peasant life, they also feel as far away from Paris as possible, not less than an hour away.



Elsewhere in Europe, I went to Stockholm in May to visit my friend (she’s coming to Paris in a a few days!) and was very warmly welcomed by her family. We did tons of touristy thing, and another friend who normally lives in Uppsala came down to spend a day together with us too. That was a nice reunion for the three of us, who used to work/study in the same institute in Dublin.

While I was in Nice, since I was already in the region, I popped over to Monaco to see what’s the fuss about. And then became a suspected scammer when I tried to give (not to sell, just give!) another visitor my day transport pass just as I got ready to return to Nice. Since when people get so suspicious of another traveler?

I also managed a quick trip over the border to Luxembourg, travelling solo – something which I haven’t done for a while – and in the end, wished I had more time to explore it more. Some of my friends were rather surprised at this remark, because the image they have of Luxembourg could pretty much be summed up with “but there’s nothing to do there!”. Now, I can tell them there’s plenty to do and I’d like a revisit someday myself.


Temples of Sri Lanka

My big trip of the year was to Sri Lanka for E+P’s wedding, to which I’ve tacked on about a week of holiday around the island as well. Claire and I travelled together to much adventures, given we hardly got any planning going and we were basically winging it day by day on where to go, what to do, etc. Our decision to hire a van with a driver was definitely the right one, as we could be very flexible with our comings and goings.

Malaysia also got featured heavily, as I made it back twice – once just after Sri Lanka, since I was in the region and it was great to be home to see my grandma; once for my brother’s wedding a few weeks ago. I didn’t get much travelling done once in Malaysia though, opting to spend most time with my family instead. I’ve run around enough on all the other trips in any case.

As one of my closest Irish friends was sort of in the region too in September, we settled for a meet up in Singapore to catch up. This must be the first time I got to enjoy Singapore as if an European tourist instead of a relative local. You know, sipping Singapore sling at the Raffles Hotel, having fancy dinner at Ku.De.Ta., gone river cruising to see the Merlion etc. With our hotel sitting right on the route of the Singapore Grand Prix, we even caught some (free) Formula 1 action!

What’s up next?

Train station

I haven’t exactly plan very far in advance for my travels this year. Last year, I missed out on Brazil (I had the perfect excuse as I was invited to a friend’s wedding but it came at the heel of the wedding in Sri Lanka so tough decision had to be made) so that was a little sad. I am not sure if a South America trip is in my diary for this year either.

What I have confirmed next are (1) a few days Icelandic escape, (2) a couple of trips within France, and (3) a few days trip in Ireland. That will tide me through April to June.

Of course, there’s a main summer holiday to plan too. A friend is suggesting a week of Greek getaway, while another 3 friends are suggesting a roadtrip that will take us to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and back to Switzerland. Super duper tempting! So many options, so little time (and money).

On the other hand, I know I haven’t been writing about my trips in details apart from those of Sri Lanka. I’ll try to dig around for my notes and see if I could remember enough details to write them, otherwise I may just do a series of photo posts. How about that?

Category: Asia, Europe, Musing

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4 scribbles & notes

  1. tsar says:

    Two words – “utterly jealous”… lol

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